More LGBT youth are likely to experience bullying in school and their everyday lives than their heterosexual counterparts, according to the most recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, and most of the bullying is virtual and violent.
The study surveyed over 7,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender middle and high school students from the ages of 13 to 21-years-old.
Eight out of ten of the students surveyed have been verbally harassed, four out of ten have been physically harassed, six out of ten have felt unsafe, and one out of five have been victims of physical assault at their school.
The CDC study also shows that LGBT youth are more susceptible to substance abuse. “Students who were questioning their sexual orientation reported more bullying, homophobic victimization, unexcused absences from school, drug use, feelings of depression, and suicidal behaviors than either heterosexual or LGB students”
61% of LGBT youth say that they have felt uncomfortable or unsafe at school as apposed to their heterosexual classmates. The CDC also claims that overall, LGBT youth are at a greater risk of mental and physical health problems, including suicide
To help promote a safer environment for LGBT students, schools and their faculty need to encourage and promote respect. A study conducted by the Family Acceptance Project has shown that if schools have gay friendly clubs such as the “Gay-Straight Alliance,” LGBT students feel more safe and accepted in their community and among their peers.
The CDC also gives some advice to parents. “Parents should talk openly with their children about any problems or concerns and be watchful of behaviors that might indicate their children are victims or perpetrators of bullying or violence or are depressed or suicidal. If bullying, violence, or depression is suspected, parents should take immediate action, working with school personnel and other adults in the community.”